The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Girl Who Was Plugged In

Just finished reading a story by James Tiptree called The Girl Who Was Plugged In. Absolute quality. A total and utter must-read for anyone who blogs, podcasts, reads blogs, listens to podcasts, or just generally gives a shit about where the world is going.

Quite apart from the other point(s) of the story, which I won't ruin by explaining, the background of the law prohibiting no overt advertising is spot on where we're at with podcasting. Many people are trying to work out how to advertise, without really advertising, and there's various slightly embarassed, and no so embarassed, attempts to drop a plug in in various podcasts. In the story this product placement has been elevated to high(er) art. Anyway, read it. It's brilliant. I read it in the book The Ultimate Cyberpunk, edited by Pat Cadigan. It is also full of other seminal cyberpunk stories, which I really enjoyed reading again. All this from a two minute browse down the library. Libraries are great! I'll be buying this book for my home library. Kinda like listening to a track you got from a mate, and then going and buying the CD. RIAA take note. Buttmunches.

Found this definition of Cyberpunk which I really liked. Also has an interesting breakdown of the story.
ZOMBIE'S PAGE: Cyberpunk is, as its authors would have it, a revolutionary new genre. The Movement is made up of radical new authors breaking from traditional SF ideology and prose. The style evokes a sense of fear and paranoia while overloading the reader with information. Aside from these indefinable feelings evoked by the genre, cyberpunk contains several concrete, identifiable themes in every story. The central theme is about fringe characters -- outsiders -- living in a grimy, seedy world ruled over by huge, all-encompassing megacorporations. The megacorps permeate the world of these characters with an impersonal, hopeless aura. One can either work for them as a wage-drone in mediocrity, or against them as against gods in a pitiful fight to outwit them. The cyberpunk world is completely overwhelmed, infused, and inundated by corporate technology such as decks, the Matrix, 'prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration' (Sterling xiii), and artificial intelligences. The megacorporate philosophy that everything can be bought and sold, like the technology that is bought and sold, makes human life cheap and worthless. Technology has replaced humans, much like machines today have already replaced workers on the assembly line.


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